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Alien 3

Alien 3

What he said:

He

I remember this movie when it came out. My dad took me to see it in the theater. I was super excited for a few reasons. First, I had never seen an Alien movie in theaters and was looking forward to experiencing it on the big screen. Additionally, Aliens was probably the first entry in the series that I saw. I’m not completely sure if it was or wasn’t, but it was certainly the most memorable one from my youth. Aliens is an ass-kicker of an action movie and a pretty damn terrifying movie to boot. With a multitude of scary monsters and a group of space marines to fight them, it was just the kind of movie a father and son bonded over. I even remember taking a trip to The Franklin Institute to see an exhibit on the movie; as well as a few others.

Very much like the original, Aliens ended with Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) on her way back to Earth after encountering the creepy crawly aliens. Well this time, she crash-lands on a prison planet, where the worst of the worst spend the rest of their lives performing manual labor.

Being stuck at a prison would be frightening enough, but even more so when you are a woman and the inmates are known for brutal crimes against women. In an attempt to find some peace, the inmates found religion. It’s questionable how much of it actually sticks with them because they view her presence as more of a threat rather than a test. They actually hate her for just being there; so-much-so that a few of them are tempted to resort to their old ways. Things get even more interesting when one of the aliens actually makes its presence known. Can Ripley trust these guys? Can they put aside their own sick temptations and join forces to fight the creature? In addition to providing some gritty drama, they also provide many amusing moments; such as this one or this one.

Charles S. Dutton plays Dillon. He is the one inmate that all the others turn to for guidance and leadership.  There are actually administrators there who are in charge of the facility, but he sort of unofficially runs the place. He keeps the inmates in check when they are out of line and is also their spiritual leader. I loved Dutton’s performance. I felt he portrayed who and what the character is all about just perfectly. He has a very commanding presence throughout the movie; particularly in scenes such as this.

Charles Dance was also very good as Clemens. He is the facility’s medical officer and also the only one who treats Ripley like a human being. The other inmates loath her for simply being a woman, but he’s a little more sensible. The character also serves as a nice outlet for showing a little more depth to Ripley’s character similarly to how Newt (Carrie Henn) did in Aliens.

There honestly isn’t a bad performance amongst any of the inmates, but these two stood out.

I have heard a lot of mixed reaction to this film. I have seen a lot more positive reaction to it online in recent years, but I also know the movie also has a long history of being criticized. I honestly don’t see what the big glaring problem is; I always found it to be a solid movie. It’s not perfect and I too can find some problems with it – such as some really bad effects in a few scenes and a potential plot hole or two – but overall it keeps as dark and gritty as ever. It’s even grittier than the other in some ways with the introduction of the whole prison planet. I also give it credit for the creature design. The alien in this one has four legs instead of two. The host for the creature was not human and thus it inherited some different traits. I thought it was a nice creative decision to expand that part of the creature’s mythos. I also appreciated making things a little more simple again. I love Aliens, but trying to make an action movie equal to or bigger than that would have been a mistake. I will even take it as far as to say I think Alien 3 than Prometheus (review here). Ridley Scott has said he was not happy with Alien 3, but it is better than his own attempt to return to the universe he helped created in Alien. Alien 3 is absolutely worthy of being considered a sequel to Alien and Aliens as far as this movie reviewer is concerned. It finishes out the trilogy perfect. Sorry Alien Resurrection, but you don’t exist in my eyes.

I’d also like to comment on the director’s version of the film. I have heard many a fan over the years say that this version of the movie is better. I completely disagree with that. Any issues I had with the film were not fixed in the extended version. Truth-be-told, I actually found that it created a few unnecessary issues. The fact that somebody felt the character of Golic released the creature because he viewed it as some kind of deity was a good idea was ridiculous. It was totally out of the blue and did not fit with the rest of the movie at all. I’m glad they scrapped that idea.

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was updated in August of 2012.

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